There’s been a bit of buzz in the blogosphere over The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, so despite its absurd-sounding name, I picked up a copy to read. Unfortunately, it was pretty much what I expected. I only made it about one-third of the way through when I came across a piece of advice I was compelled to take: “Practice the art of nonfinishing.” He writes: “Starting something doesn’t automatically justify finishing it. If you are reading an article that sucks, put it down and don’t pick it back up.”
Tim takes organization and work-life separation to an extreme. The entire focus is on cutting corners while still being, or at least feeling, “rich.” There are morsels of good ideas speckled throughout the portion of the book I read, but they all get carried to the extreme. For instance, rather than the potentially helpful advice to turn off the alert beeps when new email arrives and checking email in a more controlled manner, he brags that he looks at email for just one hour, one day a week. And when he travels abroad, he doesn’t check voice mail at all, he says. I kid you not when I tell you this is what he writes about that:
But what if someone has an emergency? It doesn’t happen. My contacts now know that I don’t respond to emergencies, so the emergencies somehow don’t exist or don’t come to me.
The final part of the last sentence is what the author apparently overlooks. All he’s really doing is pushing the work off on someone else. It still needs to get done. And that’s what’s wrong with the book. It’s essentially an arrogant approach focused on manipulating rules and people to get what you want. Unfortunately, if everyone followed his advice, nobody would be working and there would be nobody left to leech off of.
My advice for how to find more free time? Skip this one unless you’re one of those folks who believes you really can get rich quick with no real effort.